Hastert looks in trouble over Foley

October 2, 2006

Here’s what you don’t want to have happen. One news report says Speaker Hastert knew about Representative Foley’s questionable email exchanges with a page, and another one says he had no idea. If you look closely, you can see that both may be true (depending on your definition of lurid) but such fine lines recall trying to define the word “is.”

From Newsvine: House Speaker Dennis Hastert said Monday that GOP leaders did not see Foley’s Internet exchanges and that he would have demanded Foley’s expulsion if he had known about them. “As a parent and speaker of the House, I am disgusted,” Hastert, R-Ill., told reporters in Washington.

From Foxnews:

Hastert, R-Ill., acknowledged that Foley’s 2005 e-mail to a Louisiana boy seeking a photograph raised a “red flag” with the Louisiana congressman who sponsored the page, but said his staff aides and Rep. John Shimkus, another Illinois Republican who chairs a board of House members who oversee the page program, did not know the contents.

Rep. Tom Reynolds, the House GOP campaign chairman, said he told Hastert in the spring of this year about the questionable e-mail. Hastert says he does not recall the conversation but does not dispute Reynolds’ account.

The point: it is so doggone easy to get caught in those seams of truth and when you do, as it appears here, you have big problems. So much so that these statements and apparent contradictions can quickly overshadow the issue of Foley himself and what he did and how he is responding. Such is the nature of “coverup” in today’s journalistic environment. Blood on the water.

So, as always. Speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Keep it simple. If Hastert had said from the beginning there was an earlier email that raised some red flags but was evaluated at that time as not justifying taking stronger action, he might have been criticized for that decision. But now, the focus will be on him for not being honest in his statements–a much bigger problem.

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